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Teacher Feature

It's Not JUST A Man's World

While Susan B. Anthony was integral in the battle to give women voting rights, over one hundred years earlier, another important woman in American history took part in a small, yet important vote.  Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark's Native American guide, was given the opportunity to take part in the vote which determined the expedition's winter settling spot in 1805.  Who would have known that each of these important women would someday grace the obverses of two separate dollar coins?


To get your students aware of the contributions of these two important women, begin by producing a Golden Dollar, a Susan B. Anthony dollar, and a dollar bill for them to see.  Ask your students what these forms of currency have in common.  Explain to your students that these are all currently circulating dollars that can be used to make purchases.  Conduct a Think-Pair-Share where your students will discuss what they know about the people who appear on these dollars.  Most will be able to share information about President Washington on the dollar bill, but they may not know as much about the women who appear on the dollar coins.  Explain that the students will be exploring and comparing the lives of these two important women, as well as other important women in U.S. history.

With the help of your school's librarian, locate several different children's texts about Susan B. Anthony, Sacagawea and a selection of other important women in American history.  Split your students into small reading groups, and distribute a book to each group, and direct the students to take turns reading this book aloud.  Explain that as the group reads the text they are to complete their note taking sheet as well as add any additional details that they believe are important in the life of the subject whom they are studying.

After each group has read and taken notes on their book, place each child in a second group that contains one member from each of the previous reading groups.  In these new groups, the students should take turns sharing the information that they learned in their first group.  In these second groups, the students will decide who they feel most deserves to be featured on an American coin, and why.  Each student should then develop a campaign poster that advertises the important work of the individual that they selected.


The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education.  These standards are listed below:

Language Arts Standards

Demonstrate competence in the general skills and strategies of the reading process:  Students will take turns reading from an age-appropriate text about a specific individual in American history.

Demonstrate competence in speaking and listening as tools for learning:  Students will summarize the information that they learned from their assigned text for the other students in their group.

Social Studies Standards

Individual Development and Identity:  Students will identify the ways in which the actions of particular individuals influence their environments.

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